From the time we are little, we are often told that there are “two sides to every argument.” For the most part, this is true. Very few people actually want to make the world a shittier place, but quite a few people will overlook the suffering of others (accidentally or intentionally) if their own lives are going well. Considering other points of view can be a useful exercise in understanding the world, as well as trying to make it better.
However, there are occasions where this saying doesn’t quite hold up. If someone is trying to tell you that stained glass windows are edible, you can probably just assume that they’re wrong without putting their ideas to the test and giving yourself a massive dentist bill. The world is big and complicated, but there’s no need to eat glass just to debunk someone who is foolish, unwell, or deliberately lying to you.
Right now, the Republican party is trying to convince us to eat a whole fucking cathedral.
I should probably clarify something at this point- I don’t really consider the Republicans to be an actual political party (as opposed to the Democrats, Progressives, Working Family ect.) and that is part of why I write about them in the manner that I do. I think that they were an actual party at one time, but they seem to have devolved into a loose collective that tells their wealthy donors what they want to hear at all costs. Climate change? Don’t worry! Trickle down economics? Totally works, and who needs a middle class anyway?
So while I’ve occasionally been saddened or disturbed by the Republican response to the evidence presented in the impeachment proceedings, I haven’t really been surprised. Their arguments aren’t really meant to convince anyone of Lord Dampnut’s innocence- rather, they are trying to sow doubt about the integrity of the investigation. That way, no matter how damning the evidence is, Republicans can convince the cult of 45 that there’s nothing to worry about. It’s all just “fake news.”
If you’re reading this blog, then you probably already know this on some level. But I wanted to take a moment to write about it in more detail.
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing which featured four constitutional scholars. I’d encourage you to watch some or all of it if you can, but there are summaries floating around as well.
The hearing went about as you could expect. Three of the four scholars (Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan and Michael Gerhardt) gave testimony that could be summarized as “holy shit of course this is an impeachable offense why are you even asking,” while Jonathan Turley seemed to think that Democrats were moving too quickly. Even Turley, however, conceded that the July 25th call was “highly inappropriate.”
It’s good that this stuff is getting media attention. It’s good that it’s all going into the public record. And had people not voted in such high numbers in 2018, it might not have happened at all (cough cough CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION cough cough).
But we can’t lose sight of the fact that, when cornered, liars will often resort to the “both sides” strategy.
Oh sure, Ivanka Trump obtained trademark approvals from China for voting machines while working that vague advisor job that she isn’t qualified for, but hey, Hunter Biden! Both sides!
My point is not to diminish the significance of the impeachment proceedings. What I’m driving at is this:
A small chunk of America has accepted Trump as a savior figure, and they are not going to turn on him no matter what.
That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost- on the contrary! The left, center, and literally anyone who pays attention to objective reality are all pretty mobilized. Even if Lord Dampnut isn’t forcefully removed from office, he may well be voted out in 2020. And that’s not far away.
Meanwhile, all of America just got one hell of a civics lesson, and I like to think that at least a few of us will put it to good use.
But for your own well being, please remember that there are not “two sides” to this argument, whatever your racist high school classmate tries to tell you on Facebook. For the past three years, the extreme right has used this “both sides” concept to make their bullshit more palpable for those who don’t know better. They’re like that dude you knew in college who claimed that he was “too egalitarian” to be feminist. At first it seems like maybe he has a point, but then he flips out at you for being “gross” when you complain about bad period cramps and you realize that he’s full of shit.
If we are a society that allows for free exchange of ideas, then we must acknowledge the freedom to reject ideas that have been proven to be awful and dangerous.
And King Trump is a fucking terrible idea.